11/14/2003 1:00AM

Call it a turf sprint potpourri


CHICAGO - A mixed bag of seven horses was entered for Sunday's featured fourth race at Hawthorne, the Prompt Angel Stakes at five furlongs on turf. If turf sprints are anomalies in this country, this race is an anomaly with variety. There are claimers moving to stakes, route horses switching to sprints, and dirt horses trying turf - somewhere, there must even be a winner.

The pointer may land on Toomuch Chavez, who was entered in a turf allowance around two turns Saturday, but is just as likely a winner in this $40,000 stakes spot. Toomuch Chavez has not won in five starts since owner and trainer Ron Shenofsky claimed him for $25,000 in mid-July.

Toomuch Chavez's first start for Shenofsky, a $50,000 claiming sprint at Arlington, was the last time he raced around one turn. He finished third, beaten a head by winner Tricky Storm, who just happened to win a high-end turf sprint Friday at Churchill Downs.

After setting the pace and fading late in three route races, Toomuch Chavez managed to settle 10 lengths behind the early pace in a one-mile optional claimer here Oct. 25. This time, the stretch run was the best part of his race, and he closed to finish third behind a pair of horses who have returned to win.

A sudden, successful switch in tactics is almost always a good sign, and Toomuch Chavez should be running late into a potentially swift pace. Eddie Razo will take the mount.

Tiger Six and Too Many Bucks appear to be the fastest of the bunch, and both possess a touch of quality. What they lack is turf experience - they have one grass start between them, and just an off-the-board finish by Tiger Six. Neither horse has a strong turf pedigree and they may have been entered hoping for a switch to dirt.

Those handicappers who have successfully navigated the featured fourth may want to save something for the nightcap - race 9 - a third-level grass allowance that, with a full field, may offer the best wagering propositions of the day.

Watch out for Church's Out, who may have moved prematurely when she finished second in her last start. Church's Out has improved drastically since switching to turf, and turned in an excellent work after her most recent start.